What the Fuck?


Excuse me.

You gave it to somebody else?

You didn’t tell me?

What do you mean I am not getting the full ride?

What is this loan thing on my account.

That is not the awards letter I was expecting.

I have had some trouble accessing my awards letter, partially as I was expecting an actual fucking letter, maybe with one nice shiny gold ticket it in, hey kid, don’t even worry about going to graduate school, here’s some money, have fun.



It wasn’t quite like that, but I am hella confused.

Here read this and tell me what it sounds like:

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations! The Scholarship Team is pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a recipient of the CIIS Opportunity Scholarship beginning in the Fall 2015Semester and ending in the Spring 2017

The CIIS Opportunity Scholarship is a tuition-only award. At the beginning of each semester, your tuition account will be credited. Any additional fees (including registration fees) are not covered by the scholarship. Please read the contract below for rules and regulations.

Opportunity scholarships are made possible by the generous gifts from various foundations and/or donors.  As a future follow-up, you may be contacted by our Development Office regarding which of these foundations and/or donors funded your scholarship. 

Again, congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you success in your academic endeavors.

Warmest regards,

I Chen

Director of Financial Aid

Financial Aid Office


Does this sound like I got a full ride, or is it just me?

I mean, yeah, I guess I assumed, but what the fuck?

So to sum up the rug being pulled out from under me looked a little like having gotten my charges into their perspective rooms for quiet time and staying out-of-the-way of the house cleaner, I had made myself a cup of Bengal Spice Tea and breathed a big deep big girl breath and got on the phone to call the financial aid office and ask them some questions.


Why does it look like you’re offering me an unsubsidized loan?

A generous loan, $20,500, granted, but a loan?

I thought I was being awarded the Opportunity Scholarship.

I saw the in the awards letter that the Diversity in Leadership Scholarship, for $10,000 per year, to be disbursed in $5,000 increments each semester for the entirety of my graduate school program was listed.

And for that I am grateful.


Grateful, I tell you.

I am not sneezing at the award, I am humbled and honored and to be considered a leader means a great deal to me although I firmly believe that the type of leadership I have is not to be recognized, rather, perhaps, hopefully to be emulated.

But that’s beyond me anyhow.

Just for giggles and to compare the two letters, here’s the award e-mail that I received for the Diversity Scholarship:

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations!  On behalf of the California Institute of Integral Studies Diversity Leadership Scholarship Committee, I’m happy to inform you that you’ve been selected as a recipient of the J.C. Kellogg Integral Counseling Psychology Scholarship. This scholarship provides recipients with $10,000.00 per school year for the 3 years of the ICP/W Programs.

The Financial Aid office will be sending you a revised Awards Package in which this scholarship will be included.

Wishing you all the best!

With warm regards, Pauline

Pauline E. Reif, MA, MFA

Admissions Counselor

California Institute of Integral Studies



 Integral Counseling Psychology Master’s Degree Programs

MFA in Writing & Consciousness,  Creative Inquiry – Interdiscsiplinary Arts, and

     Theatre Performance Making – CIIS MFA Facebook

This e-mail I received while in Sonoma working with my family while they were on vacation outside of Glen Ellen.

I was over the moon.

You may, perhaps, remember me blogging about it.

I ran around like a wild pigeon swooping in circles across the grass in the cooling evening air after dinner had been done and I was settling in with a cup of tea, the aforementioned Bengal Spice–got to love me some Celestial Seasonings, yo.

I laughed and cried and gasped and couldn’t breathe and called my best girlfriend and whooped it up.

I was, you see, under the impression that I was being given a full ride.

I was apparently wrong.


Back to this afternoon.

The table in the dining room at work, the monitor in front of me, a cup of tea by my side, my notebook, a pen.

Breathe and make the call.

The woman I spoke to on the phone said, no, I just see the Diversity Scholarship and the unsubsidized loan, nothing else.

I explained to her that I was also awarded the Opportunity Scholarship and I was wondering how that applied, if it were being added in, that I did not want to be accepting  $20,500 in student loans if my scholarship was pending.

Oh, and how should I be taking care of disbursing the scholarship monies so that I could pay the tuition bill sitting in my account and also to buy the books I need to start reading.

“Hang on, the scholarship liaison is on another call, I get right back to you,” the woman on the phone said.

I left my phone number.

I waited patiently.

Ten minutes later I received the call.

The gist of the conversation:

No Opportunity Scholarship, it was taken away from you when you were awarded the Diversity in Leadership award.

In fact, it was given to someone else.


Maybe an e-mail or a phone call to let me know that?

The financial aid department gave you the bigger award anyhow, and “that’s a lot of money!” she exclaimed over the phone.


I am not ungrateful.

I was not being mean to the messenger, although her bedside manner left something lacking, English was not her first language and I was not going to be mean.

Rise the fuck above.

I agreed that the Diversity Scholarship was wonderful and I was really grateful, just confused, and she went on to say the Opportunity Scholarship was only about $2,000 a semester, “so they gave you the bigger one,” she ended.

Plus, look, you got all the loans you need.



You’re breaking my heart lady, I thought I wasn’t going to have to take out loans.

I accepted the package as it stood, tears rolling down my face, I thanked her and gently hung up the phone.

Then I put my head on the table and sobbed.

A little elbow grease from the house cleaner and some fresh hot tears from me and wow, that table shown.

I urged myself to get present, made some phone calls, reached out, calmed down.

Got some perspective.

I’m going to graduate school.

I am going to be able to pay for it–I was granted a loan.

I was given $30,000.

That’s $30,000 less that I have to repay.

I learned some humility.

It’s just money.

It’s not love.

My friend sent me a text: “I love you no matter what.”


What cost love?

It’s free.

It fills me up.

It is my touchstone.

My anchor.

My friend asked me to read the e-mail.

“Ah, yeah, it sounds like a full ride, it really does, I can see how you would see that, you need to reach out to the person who sent the e-mail and get clarification.”

Just did that before I logged into blog.

What ever the outcome.

I am loved.

I am taken care of.

And I am alright.

I really am.

With or without a full ride.

I am going to graduate school.

I am.

Damn it.

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